I tried to teach my 6-year-old daughter how to ride a bike.
If you’re a parent, it’s a moment that you look forward to…but also secretly dread.
We had encouraged her for months. She was never that interested.
First, a small bike. Then a larger one. Still, she didn’t care.
Then spring hit.
It was early pandemic time — April 2020. Out of school, can’t go to many places, this was the time.
She would learn how to ride a bike.
There’s a parking lot near our house. Perfect. We rolled the bike out there. She sat on its small white seat. I would hold her, she would glide, and fall down. Repeat, except maybe a little farther, and then farther.
Inevitably she would want to stop after 5 minutes.
I’ll admit, I had some bad moments.
Sometimes, I didn’t help enough. Sometimes I helped too much.
Other times, I would (angrily) make her try again.
Two things kept going through my head:
- Give her small wins.
- Let her make mistakes.
If I don’t let her fall, she would never learn to ride. But if I never gave her space for small wins, she wouldn’t feel encouraged to keep going.
It’s almost a Catch-22.
But I started small. I asked her to ride between two parking spots, then three, then four.
She kept going, further and further. She still fell. But she was more confident.
She watched YouTube videos of kids riding bikes.
A friend came over and literally rode circles around her. In the same place where she was learning.
All of this was motivation. All of this added to her perseverance.
What is perseverance? It’s persistence. In trying and in doing, even if there isn’t an immediate success.
For my daughter, she could see the success. Other kids rode their bikes. And there was nothing stopping her from doing it, too.
There’s this verse in the Bible that says that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3–4).
You know how these stories go. She grew more confident. More secure on her bike. Soon, she was riding faster, going down hills, and soon was doing circles around me as I walked alongside her.
She did it. She could ride her bike.
That’s what I’m proud of — the perseverance that creates character.
If there’s anything that 2020 has been about — it’s suffering and perseverance.
The ability to persist and last through trials.
For my daughter, not riding a bike was a trial. For many of us, survival, caring for loved ones, and trying to good neighbors has been a trial.
What do we have on the other side?
Hopefully, more patience.
Hopefully, a resolve to keep us going.
All of that from perseverance.
Josh Spilker is a content strategist and author. Get his 30+ ideas to kickstart your creativity.